12th Class, 2005-2006
Field Placement: Utahns Against Hunger (Salt Lake City, UT)
Larisa provided technical support and expertise to Utah’s school districts as they developed “local wellness policies” in accordance with a new federal mandate. For the low-income district of Ogden, she devised a comprehensive policy that addressed childhood obesity as well as the area’s high incidence of hunger and food insecurity. In addition, Larisa wrote a successful $25,000 grant proposal for the Utah Action for Healthy Kids Team. The funds from National Action for Healthy Kids and W.K. Kellogg Foundation will be used to assist school districts with the implementation of local wellness policies.
Hunger Free Community Report:
Making Stone Soup: Community-Driven Efforts to End Hunger in Utah is an educational booklet that highlights community food security models, specifically local wellness policies and assessments, as complements to emergency food and federal food and nutrition programs. This compilation of pictures, articles, and data illustrates creative partnerships and grassroots initiatives that are helping to reduce instances of food insecurity and hunger among low-income Utahns.
Policy Placement: Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) (Washington, DC)
Larisa updated two previously published FRAC reports related to the federal Food Stamp Program. The first analyzed access to food stamps in major U.S. urban areas, focusing on program participation rates of potentially eligible households. The second was an advocate’s guide to the Disaster Food Stamp Program and includes lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina as well as potential responses to an avian or pandemic flu. Larisa also prepared a report evaluating the adequacy of food stamp allotments in terms of purchasing power and impact on household food security.
Pre-Fellowship Education and Experience:
Larisa graduated magna cum laude with honors in International Relations from Brown University in 2003. She worked at New York City’s FoodChange as a Program Assistant in the Food Access Department, where she contributed to program development, media campaigns, and grant applications, including a USDA award for $125,000. Larisa she studied abroad in Buenos Aires and authored a thesis on the social implications of the Argentine economic crisis.